A simple Panamanian mola featuring two fish. Every mola is unique. Some feature geometric patterns, while others display local animals, fish or birds.
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I am neither a maker of mola or a stained glass craftsman. Still, I can’t help but admire both arts and in my appreciation and passion notice similarities. Of course there are the tangible differences, glass versus fiber and the rigid outer form of stained glass contrasting the supple functionality of the mola. A rather [...]
Panama is ever increasing its infrastructure and services for the tourist industry. The artisans of Panama follow suit altering their arts to provide the widest possible array of options to the traveler in hope of becoming satellite beneficiaries of this booming industry. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, one can find numerous mola “doo [...]
The earliest recorded history recognizing the Kuna people comes from the travels of 16th century Spanish explorers. At this time the Kuna wore little in the way of clothing. In the mid 19th century the Kuna who had lived inland along rivers along the northeastern coast of Panama migrated to the string of islands just [...]
I have heard that the Kuna Indian art of mola has reached its height as a fad. This from a veteran in the business who recollects that the textile art of reverse applique, hand designed cut and stitched by the Kuna women of Panama (and a very few men) had its vogue in the early [...]
Prior to the creation of molas to adorn blouses worn by the Kuna women of the San Blas Islands body paints were used to create designs directly on the skin. Paints were made using local plants which produced yellow, red and black colors. Today body paint has all but vanished save for a thin bluish/black [...]
The infinitely unique mola begins its journey to art as a humble stack of cloth. Two to six panels of cotton fabric cut to an abdominal-sized rectangle (as these panels are prepared in sets to become blouses) are aligned with the bottom most color representing the future primary accent color and the uppermost layer the [...]